Two weeks ago, Maryland bride Breland Bowman said “I do” to the love of her life, and like many young women participating in the 2.4 million marriages that happen each year, she posted photos of her special day on her Instagram page. However, a caption on one of the photos has caused quite the controversy.
In the picture, Bowman is shown dancing with her father; the caption reads, “Another one of my favs! Dancing with my first love! I was able to present a certificate of purity signed by my doctor that my hymen was still intact. Also the covenant he gave me when I was 13…I love you daddy.”
For many people of faith, remaining abstinent until marriage is an essential component to keeping faith with God. But in the buzz of social media, many have mixed feelings on the lengths to which this young woman and her family went to prove her virginity.
Since receiving more than 3,000 shares, Bowman’s Instagram post has been picked up by media outlets such as Buzzfeed and USA Today. Similar posts from other social media users have also followed.
However, the story has received its share of backlash. Many feel that such a “proof of purity” is going too far and that the lengths that women go through to prove their virginity is telling of a larger issue at hand.
Buzzfeed, for example, says the proof of virginity is problematic in the narrow way that it defines virginity, and hymens are medically not a true indicator of whether or not a woman has had intercourse or been sexually active.
Additionally, using a hymen as a litmus test for virginity implies than women who have been sexually assaulted are not in fact virgins, whether or not the act of sex was their choice.
Regardless of the mounting opinions swirling around the Internet, Bowman was — and continues to be — proud of choice to remain abstinent before saying ‘I do.’ During her honeymoon, Bowman posted a photo depicting the expanses of the Indian Ocean.
She captioned the photo, “Apparently some people on social media are trying to decide if they like or don’t like my commitment of waiting/presenting a certificate to my dad. I started to want to explain/go in depth then I looked to my right my husband is swimming in the pool. I looked ahead and saw the Indian Ocean. So while they’re deciding I’ll enjoy the promises of God for my life!”